The eyes of the world were on Kaymer on Sunday evening as the Dusseldorf man showed nerves of steel to hole the putt which retained the trophy for the European Team in such dramatic circumstances.That composure is a trait which has been evident in Kaymer since the very beginning of his professional career and flourished on the European stage for the first time in 2006 as he announced himself on the Challenge Tour with a debut victory in his home town.
The 2010 US PGA Championship winner went on to perform the stuff of Challenge Tour legend, winning a month later before sealing a rapid rise to The European Tour with a fourth place finish in the Challenge Tour Rankings after just eight tournaments.It is a story from which Ritthammer draws huge inspiration and, despite struggling this season since qualifying for The European Tour via the Qualifying School last year, gives him hope that he can rise to the world stage just as Kaymer has done.
“I didn’t get to watch the singles live because I was on the plane from Catalunya and then in a car,” said Ritthammer, who is playing in this week's ALLIANZ Open de Lyon. “I did watch the highlights on the European Tour website though and I’m going to watch it in full another time.“Of course there was an extra bit of pride as a German. Martin got quite a bit of criticism from the German media this year and I’m happy for him. He didn’t play a great Ryder Cup but he holed his putts when it mattered and not many people are able to do that, but he is.
“I'm actually very proud. He did what he had to do and it was amazing.”That steely determination and unwavering composure seems ingrained in German sporting culture and Ritthammer believes that once he or one of his compatriots make the step up to The European Tour, they will go on to much bigger and better things.
“The thing is, Germany is not the number one golfing nation," he added. "We don’t have a lot of tour players but we have one of the best in the world and Marcel Siem is also having a great season.“If one of us gets to a point where we are playing the big tournaments we always seem to play good golf, like Bernhard Langer, Kaymer and Siem. If we make that big step to the top 100 in the world we always seem to go on and do better so that’s what we try to do.
“It’s just the German mentality of not getting too emotional in either a positive or a negative way. I think Kaymer is the perfect example. After his French Open victory in 2009 he just pumped his fist once and that was it.
“I think you need positive emotions to really get to the top and it’s a big advantage if you don’t get too high or too low and that seems to be how Germans do it. A lot of Scandinavian players are the same, they don’t get too emotional.“That is one of our big advantages, along with worth ethic of course. If Kaymer does it and it’s working out well I should try to do the same.”